JERSEY CITY, NJ — A report commissioned by Governor Chris Christie’s office clearing him of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge scandal did not include interviews with anyone working at the Port Authority when the lanes were closed.
“No Port Authority employees who were working at the time of the lane closures were interviewed, to our law department’s knowledge,” a spokesman for the Port Authority told WNYC. The attorneys conducting the investigation also did not question anyone at the Port Authority Police Department. Reportedly, only two individuals who had been working at the agency last September were asked to participate.
Executive Director Patrick Foye, who was widely disparaged in emails released by the New Jersey legislator by alleged BridgeGate conspirators, was also not consulted. “I didn’t get an invitation, so I wasn’t interviewed,” he told WNYC.
The two individuals with whom investigators attempted to speak, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, both declined to cooperate with investigators. While Wildstein was the mastermind of the operation at the Port Authority, both are considered active conspirators in the plot to close the bridge.
Only two current employees at the Port Authority–Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni and her chief of staff–were interviewed. Gramiccioni replaced Baroni and would, therefore, have little to provide to the report.
The Star-Ledger reports that 70 people were interviewed for the investigation. It also notes that attorney Rando Mastro, who ran the investigation, said he used information and testimony from people at the Port Authority at the time, information already released by the New Jersey legislature.
Mastro’s report cleared Christie of any wrongdoing, mostly attributing the blame to Wildstein and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff. It did not find any motive for shutting down the lanes of the George Washington Bridge, though it did find evidence of an attempt to exact revenge on a political enemy. The report also uncovered the fact that Kelly briefly dated Christie’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who was cleared of wrongdoing. Kelly’s attorney blasted the report as “venomous” and “sexist,” as it revealed the relationship and quoted several witnesses who stated Kelly was emotional and needed the approval of men at the office.
In a press conference last week, Christie announced that, partly because of the findings in the commissioned report, Port Authority Chairman David Samson would resign from the agency’s top post. Christie also vowed to strive to reform the agency, perhaps by splitting it in two, one for New York and one for New Jersey.